LGBT The Best Gay Authors  

Ron Garcia
Originally by
25.2k votes 3.3k voters 373.3k views 257 items

List Rules List includes known gay authors, living or dead—can be novelists, short story or film writers, poets, etc. Vote on the merits of their work

Who are the most famous gay writers in history? This list contains over 200 of the most notable gay writers ever, with photos where available. Some of the literary world's best talent has come from gay writers. The best gay authors may or may not choose to speak openly about their sexuality and tackle it as a theme in their writing or in their books. The LGBTQ+ community has contributed wonderful pieces of writingfrom poems and novels to fantastic journalismand many gay writers of the 20th century, like Oscar Wilde and Tennessee Williams, are studied in school and revered for their work.

Who are the most famous gay and lesbian authors? This list includes authors from ancient times to modern day, famous gay poets, novelists, screenplay writers and LGBTQ+ authors. Some on the list may not be considered "gay" by modern terms as cultures have changed throughout the centuries. Others were out and proud and used their unique experience to create some of the best gay literature of all time. That said, regardless of their era in antiquity, these gay authors have all expressed interest in same-sex relations.

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85 42
Paul Verlaine is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Sagesse, Paul Verlaine, Selected poems Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French

145 66
Chuck Palahniuk is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Fight Club, Haunted, Choke Charles Michael "Chuck" Palahniuk is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction. He is the author of the award-winning novel Fight ...more

107 41
Colette is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Last of Cheri, Gigi, Chéri Colette was the surname of the French novelist and performer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known for her novel Gigi, the basis for the film and Lerner and Loewe stage production of the ...more

55 41
Patricia Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Best Gay Authors
jobill added The Last Precinct, Trace, Cause of Death Patricia Cornwell is a contemporary American writer. She is widely known for writing a popular series of novels featuring the heroine Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner. Her books have sold ...more

98 41
André Gide is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Counterfeiters, The Immoralist, Strait Is the Gate André Paul Guillaume Gide was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947 "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human ...more

71 40
Paul Bowles is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Sheltering Sky, Pages from Cold Point, A hundred camels in the courtyard Paul Frederic Bowles was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator. He became associated with Tangier, Morocco, where he settled in 1947 and lived for 52 years to the end of his ...more

78 47
Albert Russo is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Best Gay Authors
AdamAngel added Mixed Blood, The Black Ancestor, L'Amant de mon Père Albert Russo is a Belgian bilingual author of novels, short stories, essays and poems, as well as a photographer. His main themes are fighting racism of all stripes, and defending individual and ...more

146 39
Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Magic Mountain, Death in Venice, The Tables of the Law Paul Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. His highly symbolic and ironic epic novels ...more

87 37
Mary Renault is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Bull from the Sea, The King Must Die, Fire from Heaven Mary Renault, born Eileen Mary Challans, was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in Ancient Greece. In addition to vivid fictional portrayals of Theseus, Socrates, Plato ...more

61 17
Henry James is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Best Gay Authors
2probb added The Turn of the Screw, The Bostonians, The Wings of the Dove Henry James, OM was an American-British writer who spent most of his writing career in Britain. He is regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry ...more

127 33
Michelangelo is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Complete poems and selected letters, Il carteggio di Michelangelo, Rime e lettere Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled ...more

44 22
Catullus is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Student's Catullus, Poesías, Leben Gaius Valerius Catullus was a Latin poet of the late Roman Republic who wrote in the neoteric style of poetry. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry and ...more

62 40
Marquis de Sade is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Best Gay Authors

53 32
Elizabeth Bishop is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, One Art, Elizabeth Bishop: Poems Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and short-story writer. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950, the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry in 1956, the National Book ...more

57 38
Joe Orton is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Entertaining Mr Sloane, The Visitors, The boy hairdresser John Kingsley "Joe" Orton was an English playwright and author. His public career was short but prolific, lasting from 1964 until his death three years later. During this brief period ...more

52 34
Paul Monette is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story, Sanctuary: A Tale of Life in the Woods, Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir Paul Landry Monette was an American author, poet, and activist best known for his essays about gay relationships.

60 26
Frank O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Collected Works of Frank O'Hara, Poems from the Tibor de Nagy editions, 1952-1966 Francis Russell "Frank" O'Hara was an American writer, poet and art critic. Because of his employment as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, O'Hara became prominent in New York ...more

64 30
Wilfred Owen is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Poets of the Great War Cassette set, Poems of Wilfred Owen, War Poems and Others Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was ...more

133 46
George Gordon Byron is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Don Juan, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Manfred George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, later George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron, FRS, commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. ...more

30 31
June Jordan is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Soldier: A Poet's Childhood, Affirmative acts, Kissing God goodbye June Millicent Jordan was a Caribbean-American poet and activist.

79 45
Dorothy Allison is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Bastard out of Carolina, Skin: Talking About Sex, Class And Literature Dorothy Allison is an American writer, speaker, and member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Her writing includes themes of class struggle, sexual abuse, child abuse, feminism and ...more

57 27
Thornton Wilder is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Theophilus North, Our Town Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and for the two plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth—and ...more

47 34
Sara Teasdale is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Helen of Troy and Other Poems, Love Songs, Flame and Shadow Sara Teasdale was an American lyric poet. She was born Sara Trevor Teasdale in St. Louis, Missouri, and used the name Sara Teasdale Filsinger after her marriage in 1914.

39 27
Radclyffe Hall is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Well of Loneliness, A Saturday Life, Adam's breed Radclyffe Hall was an English poet and author, best known for the novel The Well of Loneliness. The novel has become a groundbreaking work in lesbian literature.

105 36
Virgil is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Aeneid, Eclogues, The Georgics Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues, the ...more

27 32
Violette Leduc is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Best Gay Authors
La bâtarde, Folie en tête, L'Asphyxie Violette Leduc was a French author.

48 21
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Ten... is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Best Gay Authors
2probb added Maud and other poems, Enoch Arden, Idylls of the King Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular British poets. Tennyson excelled ...more

54 29
John Donne is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Holy Sonnets, The Love Poems of John Donne, Pseudo-Martyr John Donne was an English poet and a cleric in the Church of England. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His works are noted for their strong, sensual ...more

30 35
Camille Paglia is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Best Gay Authors
2probb added Sexual Personae, Vamps & Tramps, The Birds Camille Anna Paglia is an American academic and social critic. Paglia, a self-described dissident feminist, has been a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ...more

31 38
Larry Kramer is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Best Gay Authors
2probb added The Normal Heart, The Destiny of Me, Faggots Larry Kramer is an American playwright, author, public health advocate, and LGBT rights activist. He began his career rewriting scripts while working for Columbia Pictures, which led him to ...more

69 44
John Rechy is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Best Gay Authors
City of Night, The Sexual Outlaw, Gay Roots: 20 Years of Gay Sunshine - An Anthology of Gay History John Francisco Rechy is a Mexican American novelist, essayist, memoirist, dramatist and literary critic. In his novels he has written extensively about homosexual culture in Los Angeles and ...more

53 31
Terrence McNally is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Catch Me If You Can, The Full Monty, Kiss of the Spider Woman Terrence McNally is an American playwright. One of theatre's most important playwrights today, he has received the Tony Award for Best Play for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, as ...more

69 45
Susan Sontag is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Under the Sign of Saturn, Against Interpretation, In America Susan Sontag was an American writer and filmmaker, teacher and political activist, publishing her first major work, the essay "Notes on 'Camp'", in 1964. Her best known works include ...more

48 28
Randy Shilts is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Best Gay Authors
And the Band Played On, The Mayor of Castro Street, Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the US Military Randy Shilts was a pioneering gay American journalist and author. He worked as a freelance reporter for both The Advocate and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as for San Francisco Bay Area ...more

35 28
Ludwig Wittgenstein is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Best Gay Authors
2probb added Philosophical Investigations, On Certainty, Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian-British philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. From ...more

23 31
Octavia E. Butler is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Best Gay Authors
stubb added Kindred, Fledgling, Parable of the Sower Octavia Estelle Butler was an American science fiction writer. A multiple-recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, Butler was one of the best-known women in the field. In 1995, she became ...more

32 27
Augusten Burroughs is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Best Gay Authors
BlueSpongeRun added Running with Scissors, Dry, Possible Side Effects Augusten Xon Burroughs is an American writer known for his New York Times bestselling memoir Running with Scissors.

51 34
Gerard Manley Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Wreck of the Deutschland, Poems and Prose, Hopkins Reverend Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and a Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. His ...more

99 43
Honoré de Balzac is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Cousin Bette, The Quest of the Absolute, Ursule Mirouët Honoré de Balzac was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a ...more

15 25
Essex Hemphill is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Best Gay Authors
2probb added Ceremonies Essex Hemphill was an American poet and activist. He was a 1993 Pew Fellowships in the Arts recipient.

45 26
Henry David Thoreau is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Best Gay Authors
stubb added Walden, Civil Disobedience, Faith in a seed Henry David Thoreau was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, sage writer and philosopher. He is best known for his book Walden, a ...more

52 39
Marguerite Yourcenar is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Memoirs of Hadrian, Oriental Tales, Fires Marguerite Yourcenar was a Belgian-born French novelist and essayist. Winner of the Prix Femina and the Erasmus Prize, she was the first woman elected to the Académie française, in ...more

81 34
John Milton is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Paradise Lost, Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Areopagitica John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political ...more

23 24
Sapphire is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Best Gay Authors
2probb added Push, Mastering Time Travel, American Dreams Ramona Lofton, better known by her pen name Sapphire, is an American author and performance poet.

39 30
Djuna Barnes is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Nightwood, Le Bois de la nuit, Ladies Almanack Djuna Barnes was an American poet, playwright, journalist, visual artist and short-story writer whose work continues to “beguile, excite and inspire readers”. Best known for her novel Nightwood, ...more

84 41
William Carlos Williams is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Sour Grapes, In the American Grain, Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems William Carlos Williams was an American poet closely associated with modernism and imagism. He was also a pediatrician and general practitioner of medicine. Williams is often numbered as being ...more

69 30
Pier Paolo Pasolini is listed (or ranked) 97 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Ragazzi di vita, Alì dagli occhi azzurri, A violent life Pier Paolo Pasolini was an Italian film director, poet, writer and intellectual. Pasolini distinguished himself as a poet, journalist, philosopher, novelist, playwright, filmmaker, newspaper and ...more

35 28
Vita Sackville-West is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Edwardians, Some Flowers, Berkeley Castle The Hon Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson', CH, usually known as Vita Sackville-West, was an English poet, novelist, and garden designer. A successful and prolific novelist, poet, and ...more

31 24
Alan Hollinghurst is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Best Gay Authors
sam.wood17 added Bajazet, The Folding Star, The Line of Beauty Alan James Hollinghurst FRSL is an English novelist, poet, short story writer and translator. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1989 Somerset Maugham Award, the 1994 James ...more

43 35
Joe Keenan is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Best Gay Authors
mixmaster reid added Putting on the Ritz, My Lucky Star, X27 Putting on the Ritz Dumpbin Joe Keenan is an American screenwriter, television producer and novelist.